Wednesday 23 January 2019

Jones labels Bath boss 'the Trump of rugby' in bitter battle

Eddie Jones. Photo: Reuters
Eddie Jones. Photo: Reuters

Daniel Schofield

Eddie Jones has labelled Bruce Craig the "Donald Trump of rugby" as England's head coach continued his war of words with the Bath owner.

What began as a criticism of Jones' training methods has escalated into a tit-for-tat campaign that has raged for more than a week and is threatening to undermine the Rugby Football Union's relationship with Premiership Rugby.

Any hope of a rapprochement was shattered by Jones when he arrived in Durban for the three-Test series against South Africa.

Asked how he wished to respond to Craig's recent remarks that the Australian coach had been "cynical" and "inappropriate", Jones delivered an antagonistic response.

"Bruce Craig sounds like the Donald Trump of rugby. He has the same hairstyle," Jones said.

"Everything we do is about training to get better. It's not about satisfying some bloke who has got plenty of money in Bath and thinks he knows everything about rugby. I find it all a bit tedious."

The schism began three weeks ago when Bath prop Beno Obano sustained a knee and hamstring injury during a Brighton training camp that will keep him out for up to a year.

At least 14 players have suffered injuries in England training sessions in the two and half years of Jones's tenure, including five Bath players. This led Craig to describe the attrition rate as "totally unacceptable".


Ahead of Saturday's opening Test at Ellis Park, where England have not won for 46 years, it was Jones' turn to return fire with some pointed remarks about Craig's rugby knowledge.

"We've got an owner who thinks he knows everything about rugby. Really, I wish I knew that much," Jones said.

"If I knew that much, I'd probably have as much money as him. Unfortunately, I don't, so I'll just stick to rugby.

"Bruce is absolutely obsessed by intensity. We train appropriately for Test-match rugby. It seems like whatever Bruce says, goes."

Meanwhile, Warren Gatland slammed Premiership Rugby Limited after calling up England-based Josh Adams and Tomas Francis for Wales' two-Test tour of Argentina.

Both players - as well as Bath's Luke Charteris - were dropped from Gatland's summer tour party last month after PRL refused to release them for Saturday's 22-20 win over South Africa in Washington.

Wales' young players secured a dramatic late victory over South Africa, replacement hooker Ryan Elias popping up with the match-winning try.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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